Troy Watkins of Garrett, Ky., who was first to report the Minnesota doubled die, has now found a very significant doubled die reverse on an Oregon quarter.
The variety shows best as strongly doubled branches shifted to the south of the stronger primary design on the tall evergreen tree in the foreground to the right. It also shows some doubling at the base of the highest relief areas of the rocky shoreline of the north-northeast rim of Crater Lake.
Watkins found six specimens while searching through 2005 government-issue uncirculated sets (typically referred to as mint sets).
I?ve been telling folks all along that the conditions that created the Minnesota doubled die quarters could have repeated themselves on other issues ? and now that statement has finally borne fruit.
Unlike the Minnesota quarter doubled dies, (which now number over 40 different varieties from all Mints ? see related article), where the doubling is restricted to the central area of the coin design, this Oregon doubled die exhibits a shift north of center all the way over close to the right rim.
Because the doubling is restricted to the right half of the coin design with all doubling shifted in one compass direction, specialists tend to agree that this doubled die is the probable result of a tilted and offset hub doubled die.
A number of doubled die attributers examined e-mailed images of the new variety, with varying comments.
J.T. Stanton, co-author with Bill Fivaz of the Cherrypicker?s Guide To Rare Die Varieties, said, ?I really like this variety.? He noted that if it was a doubled die reverse found on the old classic eagle with wreath design reverse, (minted on all but the Bicentennial designs, prior to 1999), and of about equal strength within the flora as many of the known varieties, it would be just that ? one of a number of nice doubled die reverses for the Washington quarter. However, according to Stanton, the fact that this one is on a state quarter makes it extra special because it offers something interesting to find on a unique design (only minted for a few weeks in 2005) and one that might still be found (by searching the many mint sets that collectors purchased last year). Stanton said that it would be included in the next edition of the Cherrypickers Guide as FS-25c-2005P-3801.
Billy Crawford, Numismatic News feature writer and editor of the online Die Variety News, said, ?I really like this one! From the photos it appears to be tilted with a possibility of an offset. This variety is now assigned in my Crawford ?C? files as 2005-P 25c Oregon Matte CDDR-001. As we have discussed before, this opens the door that collectors need to be not just looking at Minnesota states quarters but all denominations. The possibilities are endless.?
John Wexler, author of countless books on doubled dies, said, ?Due to the uniformity in the direction of the doubling, I would have to say that this is Class IV (Offset Hub Doubling). However, since the doubling is confined to a portion of the one side, I would have to say that Class VIII (Tilted Hub Doubling) was also involved with this one. It looks like a hybrid of the two classes. This one is definitely an exciting find since it displays the more ?traditional? type of hubbing doubling. Needless to say, it certainly points out a fact that we variety specialists have been saying for some time now. Collectors can?t be focused solely on the Minnesota state quarters. Many of the other state quarters must be affected in the same or similar ways. This is a great find and one that is sure to guarantee many more sleepless nights for those of us doing the attributing.?
Jose Cortez, Washington quarter variety specialist and webmaster of a Web site dedicated to Washington quarter varieties, said, ?What a neat new discovery. As Billy said and others have also repeated time and time again, varieties are out there. We know it ? collectors know it! It seems the only ones that don?t know are those people making them. I agree with John, there does seem to be some class IV and VIII happening.?
Mike Diamond, a columnist for the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Errors of America?s Errorscope magazine, said, ?Although the extra design elements are spread over a much larger area than the Minnesota doubled dies, the tilted hub ?sudden release? scenario still is a strong possibility. Then again, without solid knowledge of exactly what is going on in the hubbing press, offset hub doubling is also a possibility. Naturally, that would require more than one hubbing, or at least a jittery sort of single-squeeze hubbing.?
Tom DeLorey, former senior numismatist for ANACS and prolific author, kept it short by saying, ?Sure looks like another doubled die tree just like the Minnesotas. Makes sense that other states would have the same problem, unless the die maker who screwed up the Minnesotas was just a summer intern.? He followed up in a separate email with the tongue-in-cheek statement, ?Wait a minute! Isn?t this sort of thing now supposed to be impossible??
Since the Oregon doubled die is found on a coin taken from an official government-issued mint set, it might have a lower mintage than if it were a general circulation strike due to the Mint producing far fewer coins from a fresh set of dies for mint sets than from dies use to strike circulation coins. In general, it can be estimated that only 10 to 20 percent of a die?s normal life might be used to produce the satin-finish uncirculated coins placed in Mint sets. A study of the five known satin-finish mint set doubled die varieties on the Minnesota quarters suggests that dies used for mint set coins no longer get extended into use for circulation strikes (as they were in the past) as none of the satin-finish varieties have been found on business strikes.
However, in spite of the lower mintage, the Oregon variety could turn out to be a relatively easy one to obtain now and for years to come! In the past I have often referred to government issued mint sets and proof sets as ?time capsules of safe storage.? What this means is that collectors tend to save significant quantities of numismatic issues such as Mint sets and proof sets while the greater share of any business strike issue tends to suffer the ravages of time, i.e., wear, melting, loss, etc. When a variety is produced and placed in mint sets or proof sets, its survival in high numbers is virtually assured relative to the number originally struck. In a nutshell, while the mintage may be low, survivability is high.
Additionally, while distribution of circulation strikes is often regionalized for coins struck from any given set of dies, Mint and proof sets often see wider distribution. Thus, it is possible that collectors all over the country may be able to find the Oregon doubled die, assuming their sets were delivered during the timeframe in which these varieties were in the pipeline. What is almost always guaranteed by a variety being included in a mint set is that it can be found by anybody willing to spend the time and effort to look for it.
Let us know what you find!
Ken Potter is the official attributer of world doubled dies for the Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America and for the National Collectors Association of Die Doubling. He also privately lists other collectible variety types on both U.S. and world coins in the Variety Coin Register.
More information on either of the clubs or how to get a coin listed in the Variety Coin Register may be obtained by sending a long, self-addressed envelope with 60 cents postage to P.O. Box 760232, Lathrup Village, MI 48076, or by contacting him via e-mail at address email@example.com.
An educational image gallery may be viewed on his Web site at www.koinpro.com.